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Outlook’s Instant Search… not so instant?

My clients are thrilled when they find out how to refine their searches. Let’s say you’re searching for an email. When you click in the search bar Outlook searches for the any of the typed words in any part of an email: sender, subject, body and even attachment. The search results are highlighted. If you have ever wondered “Why on earth did it return so many search results” chances are it found the searched words in a part of the email that you can’t see highlighted unless you select the questionable email. At this point you may also be thinking, “Great, so now I only need to search 500 email instead of 5,000. What’s so instant about this search?”

Outlook search box

The secret is to know how to refine your search using the tools on your Search tab

Outlook search box2

Subject: search only the subject of all email in the current mailbox (this is a default and is highlighted in blue on the very left of the search bar. It does not include the deleted or sent folders)
Has Attachments: search email with attachments
Much like an internet browser search, the more conditions you add to the search the more restrictive it gets.

Put the words in quotes to have Outlook search for the exact match of that combination of words.

By the way, the instant search bar is available in all parts of Outlook!